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Peter Navarro: Stop selling off America a Beechcraft at a time

  • Published Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at 12 a.m.

Hawker Beechcraft’s now-canceled deal with China should be a wake-up call not just to Wichita but to all Americans. As Ralph Gomory, president emeritus of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, warns, “We import a lot of stuff from China, and between $2 trillion and $3 trillion is available to buy up pieces of America. That’s a very dangerous situation, especially if your principal creditor is a nation like China.”

Are Chinese companies really any different from other foreign companies that acquire American assets? You bet.

The typical Chinese modus operandi is to strip purchased American companies of their designs, processes, technologies and trade secrets, and then quickly move manufacturing operations over to China. A classic case in point involves Cheng Shenzong, the very same vulture who was hovering around Beechcraft.

In 2007, one of Cheng’s companies entered into a joint venture with Brantly Helicopter International of Coppell, Texas. By 2010, all manufacturing of Brantly’s B-2B helicopter had moved to Qingdao, China. That’s why the nearly 5,000 workers at Beechcraft in Wichita dodged a big bullet when the Beechcraft deal collapsed.

American citizens should also breathe a sigh of relief at this collapse, because a second major problem with selling off our companies to China is the loss of sensitive military technologies – this to a country that, as Forbes columnist Gordon Chang points out in my film, “Death by China,” is the “only country preparing to kill Americans.”

In the proposed deal, Beechcraft’s management was careful not to include its defense subsidiary. The problem, however, is that a lot of what goes into a commercial aviation aircraft is “dual use.”

That is, the aircraft’s design and technologies can just as easily wind up in a Chinese military aircraft as a commercial plane. Alarmingly, under present federal regulations, the United States has virtually no protection against Chinese companies intent on acquiring such dual-use technologies and then applying them in a military framework.

The last reason we should stop selling American companies to China – and stop buying products made in China – is that, as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., rightly claims, China is “the worst human rights abuser on the planet.”

Here, then, is what every American must recognize: Every time we buy a product made in China, we are not just putting a down payment on our own unemployment and facilitating human rights abuses; we are also providing the Beijing government with the very dollars it needs to buy up companies like Beechcraft and move them to China.

This is madness, and it has to stop. Wichita is a good place to start.

Peter Navarro is the director of the film “Death by China” and a public policy professor at the University of California-Irvine.

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